Why Monica and Chandler are secretly the heroes of 'Friends'
Not to oversell it, but in my opinion, Friends is one of the greatest TV shows of all time. Its blend of perfectly timed comedy and striking realism is why the show was, and still is, largely considered a classic all across the globe. I will not hesitate to sit on my couch for a week and binge watch every season, and I will not regret a second of it.
However, I do have one teeny tiny problem with the show: I’m not that fond of its central couple. Ross and Rachel are the staple of the Friends storyline, the great romance of ’90s TV, the couple that people bring up first and foremost when they mention Friends, along with a reference to Phoebe’s ‘They’re lobsters!’ comment. Now, I’m not saying that they don’t make a cute couple. Who can resist the storyline, especially since Ross had been pining for Rachel since forever?
My problem with them is this: Romantic gestures are grand and impressive, but they’re no substitute for communication and common ground. Their love is intense, but it’s also a roller coaster. On the other hand, Chandler and Monica? Few of us saw that coming.
What we did see is how close they were before they became a couple. From Chandler being there for Monica always, such as the jellyfish incident to Monica letting Chandler sleep on her couch and constantly comforting him, I believe that their mutual support from the beginning was a great foundation for their relationship.
While Ross and Rachel were caught up in all that drama, Chandler and Monica’s personalities quietly complemented each other. Before they hooked up in London, Monica was a grounded but compulsive chef, while Chandler was an insecure, witty IT manager with a huge fear of commitment. When they got together, they managed to retain the best parts of themselves.
We saw Monica compromise with Chandler on a lot of things, and Chandler get over his fear of commitment to declare his love for Monica. In my opinion, some of the most touching moments of the series were right before Chandler and Monica’s wedding. When Monica gave up her dream wedding dress just so she could book the Swing Kings to perform at their wedding at Chandler’s request, I thought, this is what love is.
And even though Chandler agreed to spend all of his savings just so Monica could have her dream wedding, she ultimately refused, because she knew that his idea of saving money for their future together was more reasonable.
I’ve always wondered why Monica was never constantly troubled by thoughts of Chandler having an affair. (Except that time he worked in another state.) The answer? She didn’t need to. She trusted that Chandler would never cheat on her, and he didn’t.
Last of all, Chandler and Monica were interested in each other’s hobbies and each other’s jobs. Be it foosball or crosswords, they always shared their interests with each other, and tolerated them even if they didn’t enjoy them much. Monica invested herself in spending time with Chandler and his boss, and when he quit his job, she spent hours devising a job list for him so he could pick a job that he loved to do. And when Monica made the decision of staying in New York for her new chef job instead of following Chandler to Tulsa, he understood.
Monica and Chandler may not have been meant to be a couple from the very start, but I’m glad that they ended up together, even if by accident. In reality, love isn’t based on grand gestures, but instead quiet everyday actions. Love is support, love is patience, love is commitment, sacrifice, trust, compromise— and that is exactly what Monica and Chandler’s love was.
Andrea So is an aspiring journalist who currently lives in Hong Kong
[Image via NBC]